Este fin de semana, 11 y 12 de octubre, Lui Velazquez ofrecerá talleres de producción de edición de video para jóvenes como parte del proyecto “Emergencia-Agencia emergente”, el cual explora la relación entre el público y los medios masivos de comunicación, así como la transmisión de mensajes entre grupos que normalmente no tienen acceso a los medios de comunicación. Los talleres han sido organizados en colaboración con Michael Trigilio del proyecto colectivo Neighborhood Public Radio y Ricardo Dominguez miembro del Electronic Disturbance Theater.

Sintoniza estas transmisiones en vivo, a partir de las 13 horas (Tijuana/San Diego) en el siguiente link:

http://www.neighborhoodpublicradio.org/sandiego/

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This weekend, october 11th and 12th, Lui Velazquez will be hosting media production workshops for youth and students as part of the “Emergency – Emergent Agency” project which explores people’s relationship to mass media and the transmission of messages between groups who don’t usually have access to the media. The workshop is being organized in collaboration with Michael Trigilio of Neighborhood Public Radio and Ricardo Dominguez of the Electronic Disturbance Theater.

Tune in to the live radio broadcast here:
http://www.neighborhoodpublicradio.org/sandiego/

El fin de semana pasado, el colectivo Lui Velazquez se presentó en uno de los espacios de exposición temporal hospedados por la feria anual de arte Entijuanarte, en la explanada del Centro Cultural Tijuana. Ofrecimos al público asistente la posibilidad de convertirse en productores y distribuidores, sustituyendo así, su papel como simples consumidores. Con ello, buscamos darle un giro a la usual dinámica comercial de una feria de arte.

Después de explicar nuestras motivaciones respecto al proyecto “Emergencia-Agencia emergente”, invitamos a las personas dentro de nuestro espacio a responder a los mensajes impresos contenidos en un recipiente de plástico. Enfocamos nuestra acción para que los jóvenes y niños fuesen los principales participantes de esta acción.

Los mensajes impresos en cada uno de los trozos de papel contenían los mensajes originales que jóvenes en situación de riesgo elaboraron en nuestra primera acción participativa.

Una vez elegido uno de los mensajes, pedimos a nuestros nuevos participantes, que pensaran respuestas que escribieron sobre camisetas, con las que podían vestirse.

Nuestro espacio fue bastante exitoso, contamos con la presencia de muchos jóvenes y niños que se involucraron en la producción de respuestas sobre camisetas. Puedes consultar las imágenes de esta acción en el siguiente link:

http://flickr.com/photos/luivelazquez/tags/proyectocivico/

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Last weekend, the Lui Velazquez collective opened a booth at CECUT (The Centro Cultural de Tijuana) for their annual Entijuanarte Art Fair. We offered the large public of people attending the fair the chance to flip the usual dynamic of a commercial art fair by becoming art producers and distributors instead of consumers. Focusing on youth, we invited people in to the booth, explained the project “Emergencia – Agencia / Emergente” and let them choose a slip of paper from a bowl full of papers. These small papers each contained one of the original messages from the group of at-risk youth. Then, we asked the new participants to think of their response to the original message and to create a t-shirt with their message, which we gave to them to wear. The booth was very successful with crowds of people at times and lots of youth engaging in responses to the original messages. You can see the photos of the event here: http://flickr.com/photos/luivelazquez/tags/proyectocivico/

A continuación una breve actualización de nuestro blog…Recientemente facilitamos un taller de video para estudiantes en la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, en dicho taller, continuamos el proceso de transmisión de los mensajes originales expresados por un grupo de jóvenes en situación de riesgo en la ciudad de San Diego.

Distribuimos a este grupo de estudiantes los mensajes originales que recolectamos y les pedimos que respondieran realizando videos breves (video-respuestas). Estos debían seguir las mismas restricciones de anonimato (no mostrar ni caras ni voces) a las que están sujetos los participantes iniciales.

A continuación podras ver los videos, sin edición, la próxima semana, facilitaremos otro taller en el que mostraremos a los estudiantes las habilidades básicas de edición de video y con ello los participantes
re-elaborarán sobre su ejercicio inicial.

Esta acción es la continuación de nuestra exploración sobre la posibilidad de la existencia de un diálogo democrático, bajo el estado de excepción que existe bajo las condiciones de frontera. Nos enfoncamos principalmente en el trabajo con jóvenes y estudiantes, ya que ambos grupos, tienen una condición que restringe sus derechos para ejercer una agencia política activa.

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Here’s a quick blog update… We recently facilitated a workshop with students at the Autonomous University of Baja California in Tijuana (UABC), where we continued the process of transmitting the original messages from the group of at risk youth in San Diego. We gave the students the original messages and asked them to create video responses to them, while being under the same constraints of anonymity, not showing their faces or using their voices. Here are initial rough cuts of the videos, and this coming weekend we will be facilitating another workshop at Lui Velazquez, teaching the students video editing skills and creating edited versions of the videos. This continues our exploration of the possibility of democratic dialog under the state of exception created by the borderlands, working specifically with youth and students, groups with even more restricted rights of political engagement.

“Emergency – Emergent Agency” deals with discarded, leftover, marginal messages, and misrepresented groups, all of which are part of the circuit which mainstream media maintain captive and administrated. While mass media claims to present information in an objective manner, the context of information is stripped away by the brief form in which information is presented, leaving the private parties who own the media to control the way in which meaning is produced. The project is being facilitated by a chain of social actors, including an art therapy facilitator, artists, a mass media producer, art students and the general public. Beginning by collecting messages from a group of at-risk youth in the San Deigo/Tijuana transborder region, we will transmit these messages to another group of art students in Tijuana, to respond to the messages. From this link, two outcomes will be produced:

1. Consumerist products including t-shirts and pins to be distributed among the general audience at an art fair

2. Short video segments, produced by art students, broadcast through a television news show.

By doing this, we want to show that discourse is always hegemonic, biased, constructed and to see if there exists any possibility of communication that can slip through and produce empathy between individuals.

Lacan’s Seminar broadcast on Television – Language doesn’t work!

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Lui Velazquez is a contemporary art project that takes the form of a space, a collective practice and a platform. As a project, Lui Velazquez started as an extension of research dealing with relational aesthetics, which included projects from Shannon Spanakhe, Camilo Ontiveros, Felipe Zuniga and Sergio de la Torre dealing with performative, social, media and conceptual gesutres. As a collective practice, Lui Velazquez has established a strategy of interdisciplinary promiscuity, collaborating with dj’s, poets, graphic designers, net labels, musicians, television producers, curators and media activists. As a platform, Lui Velazquez functions as a facilitator of producers outside of the “mainstream art world”. Lui Velazquez functions as a flexible organization that hosts residencies, collaborations and productions which aims to trouble the flows of distribution and production of cultural expressions in the transborder region of Tijuana/San Diego.

Part of Proyecto Civico: Diálogos y Interrogantes

Is it possible to create a discursive democracy, in the manner theorized by Jürgen Habermas, under the state of exception that Giorgio Agamben claims is the contemporary form of governance? Our project, emergencia / agencia emergente aims to investigate this question by focusing on the role of the mass media, specifically television, in the state of exception.

For decades, the goal of projects such as Paper Tiger Television, Indymedia and Bulbo TV has been to realize the democratic promise of mass media by allowing disenfranchised groups to have access to the airwaves. Bulbo TV’s mission is “busca propiciar la comunicación o enlace entre grupos sociales/culturales distanciados por sus intereses o modos de vivir, mediante un conocimiento más profundo de sus realidades,” not specifically making claims at democratization such as PTTV, but similarly targeting various social groups and attempting to create better understanding between them.

For Proyecto Civico: Diálogos y Interrogantes, our project emergencia / agencia emergente will focus on the transmission of messages, as a most basic form of communication, as a means of facilitating engagement between various social groupings and the mass media, through the Univision television channel which is broadcast both in San Diego and Tijuana. We will take messages which have been discarded by the network, as well as messages solicited from various social groupings and broadcast them in a short segment on a news show.

Recently, under Felipe Calderon, the mass media in Mexico has undergone unprecedented levels of privatization. For decades, the mass media was seen as a public service, essential to democracy, and was built with the funding of the Mexican government. In recent years, all of this taxpayer funded infrastructure has been sold off to private corporations. Similarly, with advances in digital convergence of media, as video and radio move into online digital formats, one can see that media which was previously seen as a public asset is being moved into completely privatized arenas such as the internet that only some members of the population have access to. The loop of public-private-public can be seen as closing in the recent appearance of numerous Mexican government officials in telenovelas as a means of circumventing the laws restricting their ability to purchase airtime.

Yet, while the mass media grows increasingly privatized, it still seems to support the state of exception whereby the population is disenfranchised and alienated from the political process, steadily eroding any sense of citizenship or social responsibility. Yet the situation is more complicated than simply a mass media in service of pure totalitarianism. In her 2004 book, Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age, Tiziana Terranova looks at the politics of information theory, communication and noise. In it she states:

“the public sphere of the welfare state and mass democracy is described by Habermas in terms that are markedly different from those of the bourgeois public sphere… The current public sphere is not a sphere of mediation between state and civil society, but the site of a permanent conflict… Communication is not a space of reason that mediates between the state and society, but is now a site of direct struggle between the state and different organizations representing theprivate interests of organized groups of individuals.”

emergencia / agencia emergente can be seen as an entry into this network of conflict, a modulation of the flows of messages, not with the goal of creating communication or understanding between groups, but simply to allow the messages to find a broader audience, opening the possibility that they might find their intended recipient. Yet the messages may have a more poetic message, more textural than content focused. These messages will be welcome as well, as our gesture simply serves to open up a more polyvocal space through television. While we do not seek to create pure communication, we do seek to engage the passions of those involved by offering them a mass media platform for their voices, and similarly to impact the viewer on an affective level, in a way demonstrating the non-transparency of communication.

We plan to solicit various groups for short messages they want to have broadcast, and then encode as many as possible into a short 20 second segment that we have negotiated with Univision. We have engaged with a group of homeless youth, some of whom are undocumented, who are sexually exploited, who are queer, or who do not fit any of these categories, but these youth must all remain anonymous for the purposes of the broadcast. In this way, we hope to offer these youth a space of reflection on what they might want to communicate through the mass media.

Another segment will include messages left for the television station on their voicemail, but which they chose not to broadcast. Employees there tell us that they receive messages such as lost dog information nearly everyday, and they discard these. Here one sees just one example of how the mass media can maintain the state of exception, by choosing who’s emergency is worthy of broadcast, and who’s is worthy of broadcast a hundred times a day. By broadcasting these messages, we open the question of the mass media as a public service and who they should be serving.

For the Habermasian space of discursive democracy to exist, there needs to be a space of pure communication. The mass media, much like the system of art museums, always already precludes such a space of pure communication, because such a space would have to exist without privilege, hierarchy, with equal speaking partners. In the mass media, just as in the system of the museum, there is always a gatekeeper, be it a director or curator, who not only chooses what messages are to be included in the communication, but who sets the very terms, questions and focus of the dialog from the outset. Given the years of work that are required to become a television network producer or a museum curator, there is no pure communication here, because the participants are not equals, and are always subject to pleasing the hierarchy.

As such, our project critiques this idea of discursive democracy by providing a service to the groups we engage, without attempting to reproduce the rhetoric of democracy that only reproduces the state of exception. In his book Protocol, published in 2004, Alexander Galloway examines the politics of information infrastructure, asking “how control exists after decentralization” and proposing protocol as the answer. He proposes that the way control societies operate is through a decentralized  “protocol [which] not only installs control into a terrain that on its surface appears actively to resist it, but in fact goes further to create the most highly controlled mass media hitherto known.” (emphasis in original) Here one can understand that not only does the mass media serve to maintain the lack of democracy, it does so by presenting itself as a constituent part of democracy.

As we are concerning ourselves with messages, missives or letters which have been discarded or rejected, it seems appropriate to visit the “Seminar on The Purloined Letter” of Jacques Lacan, which deals with the question of the possibility of communication that is at the basis for Habermas’ discursive democracy. Lacan also found television to be an interesting site of intervention, as some of his seminars were broadcast there. In the seminar, Lacan claims that “a letter always arrives at its destination.” If this were true, it would seem that our task for our project, of broadcasting discarded messages, would be unnecessary. How is one to understand this concept? In the same seminar, just before, Lacan says that “the sender… receives from the receiver his own message in an inverted form.” If this is so, if one only hears the inverse of what one says, perhaps communication is not possible. Perhaps the public at the root of the notion of the public sphere doesn’t exist, but in its place can be found a network of immeasurable complexity, such that one can only add more messages to send off into space, not to know if they will be received.

In the place of discursive processes leading to a liberatory democratic situation, we offer an emergent agency, based on the multiplication of pathways, codes, messages, identifications and groupings.  Guattari claims in Chaosmosis that the mass media is a technology of subjectivation. He offers a strategy of using complex interactions to offer new possibilities, saying,

“the important thing here is not only the confrontation with a new material of expression, but the constitution of complexes of subjectivation: multiple exchanges between individual-group- machine… Grafts of transference operate in this way, not issuing from ready-made dimensions of subjectivity crystallized into structural complexes, but from a creation which itself indicates a kind of aesthetic paradigm… an ethico-aesthetic engagement”.

As such, we propose that the value of dialogic processes of engagement with communications media do not arise from working towards a common reasonable agreement, but from the exercise of expressive and creative faculties and the fashioning of new collective subjectivities. Our project will serve as a kind of “Emergency Broadcast System”, interrupting the normal flow of the broadcast to introduce these discarded messages. The interrupting of the patterns of flow can be important, as Guattari states “these complexes actually offer people diverse possibilities for recomposing their existential corporeality, to get out of their repetitive impasses and, in a certain way, to resingularise themselves.” Perhaps instead of working out agreements over differences among already constituted groups, poetic subversive acts like ours can offer paths towards new groupings and new ways of reimagining social engagement.

Lui Velazquez es un espacio que es ha caracterizado por generar diálogos entre diferentes disciplinas, prácticas, artistas, productores, curadores, y públicos sobre temas contemporáneos desde una perspectiva critica.

Esta platforma facilita conexiones e intercambios, entre artistas locales e internacionales para crear redes de colaboración en la región trans-fronteriza de las ciudades de Tijuana (MX) y San Diego (E.U.A.).

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Lui Velazquez is an art space for generating dialogs among different disciplines, practices, artists, producers, curators, and the general public about contemporary issues from a critical perspective.

This platform facilitates the connections and exchanges between local and international artists to create a collaborative network within the San Diego (U.S.A.) and the Tijuana (MX) trans-border region.

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Proyecto Cívico: Diálogos e Interrogantes

El Proyecto Cívico: Diálogos e interrogantes (PCDI), comparte los intereses de la exhibición que le da nombre. Esbozado para repensar la programación pública del museo involucra a tanto a la audiencia especializada como a la general dentro de nuevas y más significativas formas de intercambio y comunicación.

La exhibición, Proyecto cívico, es una investigación sobre el estado de excepciones políticas, cívicas y sociales que gobiernan escandalosamente la vida diaria de Tijuana, pero cuyos síntomas son observables constantemente en todas las naciones contemporáneas. Estas excepciones -como lo sostiene el teórico Giorgio Agambem- han puesto en crisis a la noción misma de ciudadanía. Proyecto cívico es una exhibición de artistas internacionales y regionales organizada para la inauguración del CUBO, el nuevo espacio de exhibición del Centro Cultural Tijuana.